- Paperback: 614 pages
- Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (May 1, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316834890
- ISBN-13: 978-0316834896
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.4 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 54 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #475,897 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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American Pharaoh: Mayor Richard J. Daley - His Battle for Chicago and the Nation Paperback – May 1, 2001
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A fascinating book that should be read by all those interested in the acquiring and holding of power. Daley, from that perspective and on a smaller scale, rivaled LBJ as a power politician. The book honestly depicts some of the awful things he did, but does its best to give Daley some credit where it might have been due. Having just read the Tom Menino book I think it could be fairly said that Daley predated Menino in putting forward malapropisms. A couple of great ones: "Gentlemen, get this thing straight once and for all. The policeman isn't there to create disorder. The policeman is there to preserve disorder."
"Today the real problem is the future."
This book is highly recommended.
PATRONAGE JOBS. Patronage jobs are distinguished from civil service jobs. Patronage jobs are awarded by ward bosses, while civil service jobs are not. The mayor preceding Daley (Martin Kennelly) was anti-patronage and had a war on patronage. He had insisted on using civil service exams in the hiring methods. Patronage workers are government workers who knew their jobs were at stake, unless they contributed time and money to election campaigns. (pages 92, 116, 121, 122). Chicago had 50 wards. Each ward was allotted a number of patronage jobs. For example, Daley's political base, the 11th ward, had 2,000 patronage jobs (p. 156). For any given branch of city government, from 50-75% might be patronage jobs. Each job applicant needed to document his precinct work, in applying for the job. For Daley's benefit, each patronage job was equivalent to getting ten free votes (p. 159).
PASSIVE HYPOCRACY. When faced with issues of segregation in schools or public housing, or violence in public housing, Daley responded with "vague expressions of sympathy," that is, with "passive hypocracy." Daley's passive hypocracy is described on pages 134, 172, 322, 340, 403, 410, 431, and 465.
WHY BLACKS VOTED FOR DALEY. Although Daley was against open housing and school integration, blacks voted for him because he handed out patronage jobs (p. 301-302, 339). What also helped Daley is that blacks accepted school segregation, as they didn't want their kids in hostile white schools (p. 437). Also, blacks (e.g., Kenneth Campbell) worked against school boycotts, while other blacks (e.g., Wendell Green) were apologists for the racist superintendent of public schools (Benjamin Willis) (p. 313-314).
DALEY BUILT BARRIERS TO KEEP SLUMS FROM EXPANDING. Daley used Ryan Expressway (7 lanes in each direction) to separate the white south side from the black belt (p. 188-189, 229). Daley razed 100 acres of slums in between the black belt and the Loop, and in its place built middle class apartments, with rents that would keep poor blacks away (Lake Meadows; Prairie Shores) (p. 176-177). These new apartments were built near important employers (Ill. Inst. Technology, Reese Hospital). In planning the Univ. Illinois at Chicago, Daley made certain that it was built in the Harrison-Halsted neighborhood, just west of the Loop. The goal was for the campus to act as a barrier between black housing to the west (Addams House) and the Loop. In ten years, Harrison-Halsted neighborhood became a white neighborhood (p. 224-233). Slums in Hyde Park (near Univ. Illinois) were razed and replaced with middle class private apartments (University Apartments). Once occupied, the average income in the area increased 70%. University Apts stood as a barrier between the University and the ghettos to the north.
BLACK VS. WHITE HOUSING PROJECTS. To ensure the desired location of new black housing projects, Daley selected his own executive (Alvin Rose) for the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA). In other words, to ensure that new housing projects would be black-only, Daley had them built only in black neighborhoods (p. 201). Massive housing projects were built in 1966. These were black-only (Hilliard, Ickes, Dearborn, Stateway, and Taylor) and white-only (Trumbull Park, Lathrop, Lawndale Gardens). The CHA kept separate waiting lists for the black projects and white projects (p. 331-334). The black housing projects were considered to be "filing cabinets for the poor" and were populated by a disproportionate number of single mothers (p. 183-188).
FUND-RAISING TECHNIQUES. To ensure that people would vote for his bond initiatives, Daley made certain to have them decided in low-turnout elections, that is, April elections, where he could count on votes from his patronage employees (p. 289). To ensure an increased sales tax, Daley side-stepped the voters in city elections, and made use of a loophole that allowed state legislature instead to vote for approval of the city tax. This resulted in more funds for an exposition center, airport, highways, and mass transit (p. 166).
DALEY'S ACCOMPLISHMENTS. In the years before Daley, Chicago was in the state of decline, with losses in manufacturing jobs. Sales in the Loop were plummeting (p. 164). Daley managed to get funding to improve city clinics, street lights, potholes, street sweeping, water fluoridation, paving roads (p. 167-169). Daley's contribution to O'Hare Airport was to convince the airlines to absorb the cost of operating and expanding the airport. O'Hare was the world's only self-supporting airport (taxes were not used) (p. 233-237). The Loop revival (1955 to 1970) included Prudential Building, Sears Tower, Equitable Building, Gateway Center, One and Two Illinois Center, Dirksen federal court, Kluczynski Building, Marina City (p. 292-293, 504-505). To ensure success in the Loop revival, Daley hired talented "whiz kids," not patronage workers (p. 373-377). McCormick Place is another Daley accomplishment (p. 293, 433, 510).
ELIZABETH WOOD. The Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) was established in 1937, and the mayor at the time (Kelly) appointed Elizabeth Wood. Wood's philosophy was "managed integration" where blacks would be moved into a white project, but not in numbers(10-15%) enough to inspire whites to move away, and to make sure that when a white moved out he was replaced with another white. Wood tried to convince CHA to admit blacks to all-white projects. Also, her plan was to admit only higher quality blacks to housing projects (and to refuse the criminal element). Wood refused to hire patronage workers. Eventually, Wood was forced out, and she moved to New York City. Of course, all of Wood's innovations were eliminated, resulting in a return to strictly all black and all white housing projects (p. 70, 101-109).
FRANCIS KEPPEL. Francis Keppel was U.S. commissioner for education. His job was to ensure compliance with Civil Rights Act of 1964, which required integration standards be met in order to receive federal money for schools. If Chicago failed to meet the integration standards, Chicago would lose $32 million. At this time, controversy surrounded these schools: Fenger (white only), Altgelt (black only), Orr (white only), and Marshall (black only). On Oct. 1, 1965, Keppel declared Chicago schools to be in non-compliance with Civil Rights Act. But Daley fought back by insisting on an investigation of Keppel, and by consulting President Johnson (LBJ). LBJ caved in to Daley's request because LBJ wanted Daley's support in the upcoming 1968 election. Keppel was then removed from his position as watchdog for the Civil Rights Act, and Daley got the federal money (p. 335-336, 350-353).
CONCLUSION. As is evident, most of the book is about race relations. If you need details of Daley's accomplishments relating to business, economic development, highways, transportation, manufacturing, and such, one might want to consult another source. For those interested in proceeding to a more detailed book, I might recommend CHICAGO POLITICS -- WARD BY WARD by David K. Fremon.
It tells the story of Mayor Daley's rise to power and his hold on it. How did he become so influential? How did he become a force that elected Presidents? How did he hold it all together until the Democratic Convention of 1968?
This book tells the story of one of the most influential American lives of the last century. The reader can decide on the moral dimensions of his political leadership.